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The World’s Most Powerful Women: August 17

With all the attention on whether the next occupant of the White House will be a woman, it’s (almost) easy to forget that there’s another realm of global influence that may get a female leader this fall: the United Nations.

The UN’s current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, just weighed in on the issue, saying that after over 70 years, it was “high time” for the organization to have a woman at the helm. At the moment, there are 11 candidates up for the secretary general position. Five of them are female.

They include a number of high-powered women who have been featured in WMPW: Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian head of UNESCO; former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark; former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman; Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra; and the newest entry, Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres, a UN climate change official and a member of the Time 100 list of influential people.

The 15-member security council, which recommends a candidate to the UN’s general assembly to vote on, has held two informal polls on the secretary general position so far. Neither time, a woman was picked. Another straw poll is scheduled for later this month.

As Ban put it, there are “many distinguished, motivated women leaders who can really change this world, who can actively engage with the other leaders of the world.” It sounds like he would vote for a woman, but he doesn’t get to cast a ballot. Still, when the actual decision is made, security council officials would do well to heed his advice, and give a woman a chance.

@laurascohn

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Theresa May’s olive branch
British PM Theresa May extended an olive branch to the Chinese. In an attempt to turn down the heat in a dispute over the U.K.’s delay of a $24 billion nuclear project because of security concerns about Chinese financing, May wrote a letter to China’s president and premier saying she wants to strengthen cooperation on trade.
Fortune

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Brazier’s black truffles
Have you heard of the French chef Eugenie Brazier? Thought to be the first person in the restaurant industry to ever hold six Michelin stars simultaneously, she’s an unsung hero of the business who became famous for flavoring chicken with black truffles.
Eater

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Sexism in the fund biz
The headlines the past few weeks have been filled with tales of sexist behavior in the media and ad business. Turns out, sexism is “rife” in the asset management business too, according to a Financial Times survey.
Financial Times

THE AMERICAS



Cheney’s chance
Another member of the Cheney family may be heading to Washington. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former VP Dick Cheney, won the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s seat in the House of Representatives, and is likely to prevail in the fall election.
New York Times

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Golden girls
Simone Biles sealed her reputation in Rio as the world’s top gymnast. Biles won her fourth gold medal in the floor exercise at the Games and teammate Aly Raisman snagged the silver. Biles said the two of them “put the cherry on top” with the high scores they achieved in the competition.
Time

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Investing in diversity
Meet Arlan Hamilton, the woman who heads the $5 million venture fund Backstage Capital, which seeks out female and minority entrepreneurs. Hamilton’s company is among a growing list of Silicon Valley firms investing in women, people of color, and those in the LGBT community.
Inc.

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The few, the proud, the men
The lone female in the infantry officer’s course of the Marine Corps has left the program. The woman dropped out after not finishing two conditioning hikes, which means there still isn’t a female Marine who has completed the course since all combat positions were opened to women in December.
Time

 

ASIA-PACIFIC



Competing covered
Last week, American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the woman to compete for the U.S. Olympic team while wearing a hijab. Now, competitive Olympic weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah has penned a piece reflecting on her fight for the right to compete covered. It’s worth a read.
New York Times

IN BRIEF


Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane to resign after conviction
CNN


NFL drafts Washington police chief Cathy Lanier to lead league security
Fortune


How a diverse Twitter network helps you win at work
Fortune


Amy Schumer reveals past abusive relationship in her new book
Fortune


“Bad Moms” movie is bad for moms, conservative Movieguide site says
Slate


Women face a $19,000 gender pay gap in Medicare payments
Time


Why photographer Paula Bronstein says she can’t “just walk away” from Afghanistan
New York Times

 

PARTING WORDS

Sometimes motherhood is described as a career handicap but for me it was a career springboard. The contentment and excitement it brought made me better at my job; more organized, more content and more focused on what really matters.
— Cilla Snowball, group chief executive at advertising group AMV BBDO